8:53: Wisconsin polysci prof John Coleman has some excellent, detailed graphs of the polling.
9:00: They're at Marquette Law School, and the moderator is Mike Gousha. It's a bright, banked classroom, and the candidates are sitting together at a table. No lecterns. No opening statements, and the candidates can talk to each other.
9:03: Question 1: What's at stake in the recall? Walker (who won the coin toss) says it's whether a politician can be decisive. Barrett says it's "the future of this state," then switches to some of his buzzwords: "rock star" (Walker is one) and Tea Party (what Walker wants to impose on us).
9:05: Gousha asks about Walker's "divide and conquer" remark. Walker says it had to do with breaking up the power of the special interests and returning the power to the people. Barrett says "you wanted to pit people against each other... you wanted to use a crisis to divide and conquer... you say you're 'going to drop the bomb.'"
9:11: This is a great format with the men sitting side by side. Barrett — a larger man — leans toward the governor and speaks with urgency and stress. Walker seems more relaxed. He's earnest, gesturing and explaining. Walker's theme is: the taxpayers.
9:15: Barrett calls Walker "the poster boy of the Tea Party." He insists Walker would sign a right-to-work law, which Walker — who won't vow to veto it — says will never arrive on his desk. Barrett is speaking very fast. They're arguing about labor statistics now and Barrett, who's relying on old estimates as opposed to the actual, verified numbers, is turning bright red.
9:21: Gousha challenges Barrett to say something specific what he would do to increase economic development. Barrett complains about Walker's tax cuts. I really don't think Barrett has any material on this, the most important issue to people. Gousha ultimately lets him get away with talking about education.
9:28: Walker says "The mayor has a moral obligation" to tell us what his budget reform plan is. (He's never done it.) Barrett says a lot of nonresponsive words. Walker, smiling, and finally doing an expansive gesture, says: "Just to be clear, so everybody's clear here: The Mayor doesn't have a plan, so all he's got is to attack me. That's what, you just heard here. The Mayor did not answer the question, because he doesn't have an answer." Barrett acts like now he will, but he does the same thing again: complaining about what Walker did and saying he'll sit down and talk to people.
9:35: Barrett keeps calling Walker "Scott," while Walker invariably calls Barrett "the Mayor."
9:39: Gousha brings up the John Doe investigation, and Barrett lashes into Walker for his lack of integrity. Walker brings up the misleading numbers about crime in Milwaukee, and Barrett does a how-dare-you-question-my-integrity routine. Which is it? Must we assume integrity, or can integrity be attacked?
9:47: Barrett says that Walker — in the name of attacking Barrett's record — has been trying to make people afraid of Milwaukee. Walker says he loves Milwaukee... and brings up Barrett's 2-mile trolley.
9:52: Barrett is agitated about all the Scott Walker commercials that are "ripping my face off."
9:54: Walker warns that if he loses, we're going to have "ping-pong recall" — one recall after another. People "are sick of" the recalls.
9:58: Closing statements. Barrett has no intention to be a "rock star," but he will be "rock solid." It's an election about trust. He'll restore "Wisconsin values." Walker touts his "courage" in taking on "the tough challenges." He's about moving forward and the future... for the next generation.
10:05: I think the highlight was when Walker said "Just to be clear, so everybody's clear here: The Mayor doesn't have a plan, so all he's got is to attack me." And beyond that, Barrett simply hasn't established that a recall is justified. Walker defended what he's done, made the usual claim that his reforms are working, and stood his ground. What more is there to say? Maybe that Barrett was disrespectful. Isn't it obvious that he should call Walker "the Governor"?
IN THE COMMENTS: Jon Burack said:
I paid almost no attention to the substance of what they said (why would anyone?). I watched body language. What struck me most was the imperious yet at the same time perplexed look Barrett directed at Walker almost constantly. A combination of ridiculous pomposity and pathetic passivity. Amazing he could pull off such a combo. A talent of sorts, I guess -- for doing himself in. Walker looked relaxed and human and never once reciprocated with any form of rudeness such as he was getting.And Walter quotes me saying "Barrett is agitated about all the Scott Walker commercials that are 'ripping my face off'" and adds "That is totally insensitive to those in the news lately truly ripping and chewing off faces."